The days are getting longer and I could not be happier that spring is around the corner. I am looking forward to getting out soon and photographing birds that are returning to the state of Minnesota from their migration south. Below is a list of wildlife to watch for in the next couple months.
March: Canada geese, bald eagles, American kestrels, eastern bluebirds and wood ducks.
Mid-March through mid-April: waterfowl migration and sandhill cranes.
Mid to late April: shorebird migration, watch shallow wetlands for yellowlegs, willets, dunlins and other sandpipers.
Late April: first wave of early migrant songbirds.
Other animals to watch for in the spring would include river otters, and beavers. In Northern Minnesota you may spot moose, fishers and pine martens.
Use binoculars and a telephotos lens, keep your distance and be respectful. If you notice the animal is stressed back off, especially during nesting season.
I try to photograph flowers indoors to get me through the winter. Here is what a typical flower setup looks like. This table is near a patio door that offers plenty of natural light during the midday. How do you stay creative with your camera during the long cold winter months?
White snowy scenes can trick your camera into underexposing, resulting in a gray color instead. To make sure your snowy winter scenes look white increase your exposure by 1 or more stops. You can also accomplish this with your smartphone by swiping your finger up (after you pressed on the screen to achieve focus) to increase exposure. Just be sure you are not over exposing to much which would result in a lack of details within those white snowy areas.
I took this picture a couple years ago when visiting Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park with my family. I have recently learned that the future of the Mississippi could be at risk. Near us the river is still clean, however further downstream increasing pollution has become a threat. We need to take action to stop this before it becomes a bigger problem that could cost us dearly. I urge you to visit the following link to learn more and find out how you can take action. The website is easy to navigate and only requires a few minutes of your time. Together we can help save this beautiful river that is precious to us in so many ways.
Please visit: www.ourmississippiourfuture.org
Want to change things up a bit? One way to do that is by hanging wall art based on seasons. Some examples would be flowers for spring and summer, fall color landscapes for autumn, poinsettias for the holidays, and monochromatic landscapes for winter.
This past summer my family took a camping trip to Custer State Park, South Dakota. We absolutely loved it! There were a lot of days with moody rain clouds like above, which were fun to photograph. There was so much to see and do we were always busy. What a beautiful area. I look forward to going back again sometime.
Winter here in Minnesota can be long and dreary. I often struggle with finding a reason to pickup the camera during these cold months. Even though it can be beautiful, I find it difficult to get excited about going out into the cold, wet weather. I try to brainstorm a list of subjects I can still photograph through this long season to keep my creative juices flowing, and thought I would share some in case you struggle with this as well.
Remember to keep yourself warm and dry, as well as your camera. Several layers of clothes, hand/feet warmers, and thin gloves with touchscreen tips for shooting (with a warmer pair over to keep your fingers warm when not using your camera) will help you stay comfortable. For your camera use a rain cover to keep it dry, carry extra batteries close to your body since they will drain quickly, and stow your camera in a sealable plastic bag or camera bag before taking it indoors (including a warm vehicle) to avoid condensation, and give it time to warm to room temperature before removing it.
Fall color along the Kettle River. Don't feel you need to photograph wide angle for fall color. put on your telephoto and get an intimate shot of the landscape. This was shot with a focal length of 232mm.
The last and final technique I will talk about is shooting through. By doing this you will create this veil of soft color around your subject. Whatever you are shooting through will determine the veil of color in your image, so keep this in mind when choosing what to shoot through. This can really simplify your image by hiding a busy scene that is surrounding your subject.
If you enjoyed this series and would like to learn more I will be releasing an ebook version later this winter. Enjoy creating beautiful images of flowers and flora!
This blooming shrub was very busy, so to simplify it I shot through some of the foliage to create that soft blur and hide some of the details.
The next technique we are discussing is great for adding a painterly look to your images, and it can be used with just about any type of nature or landscape, not just flowers. The idea is to use a slow shutter speed to create a small amount of blur. There are two ways to do this.
Try this effect on fall color. This is a tree in my yard that I photographed on a windy day when it was at peak color.